fbpx Biennale Arte 2022 | Eileen Agar
La Biennale di Venezia

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Eileen Agar

1899, Argentina – 1991, UK


  • TUE - SUN
    23/04 > 25/09
    11 AM - 7 PM

    27/09 > 27/11
    10 AM - 6 PM
  • Central Pavilion
  • Admission with ticket

Eileen Agar, an independent artist whose dreamlike work was often associated with Surrealism, took the black-and-white photograph Bum and Thumb Rock in the summer of 1936 in Ploumanac’h, a village on the French side of the Channel. By suggesting that the curves of a boulder resemble the shape of a human behind, it adds a shade of humour that soon became a hallmark of Agar’s artistic language. In 1936, as if to demonstrate that whimsicality, Agar made and wore a strange Ceremonial Hat for Eating Bouillabaisse: a sculptural headpiece crafted from cork, painted blue and yellow and richly ornamented with shells, fabric cuttings, plastic flowers, and pieces of bark. Anchored to it like molluscs to a rock, this strange array of natural and artificial objects evokes the traditional French soup in the title. The distinctly sculptural quality of the layers and impasto in Agar’s paintings from the 1930s onward echo the unusual rock formations of Ploumanac’h. As in Wisdom Tooth (c. 1960s), they suggest a landscape invaded by organic and inorganic incrustations. Amid patches of darkness, ultramarine blue backgrounds, geometric patterns and outlines of lime-green flowers, a tooth stands out as the only human component of the painting, at the heart of a dreamlike symbolism that is at first glance incomprehensible.

Stefano Mudu

Central Pavilion
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